'Everybody flew': Passenger recounts train collision at Joo Koon station

'Everybody flew': Passenger recounts train collision at Joo Koon station

Joo Koon collision interview 2
Passengers disembarking from one of the two trains involved in the collision at Joo Koon station.

SINGAPORE: "The impact was very big ... and everybody flew," recounted a female passenger who was on board the train that hit a stationary one at Joo Koon Mrt station on Wednesday morning (Nov 15).

The passenger, who asked to remain anonymous, told Channel NewsAsia in a phone interview that she got on the train at Choa Chu Kang station at 7.30am and that it was a smooth ride all the way to Boon Lay station, when the train started and stopped.

At 8.20am, she said the train stopped at Joo Koon station and there was an announcement saying there was a track fault but, five minutes later, the train suddenly moved and hit the stationary train in front.

"The train carriage was quite packed, and when the train hit the stationary train, everybody flew," she said.

"A young lady fell on me, and my left knee hit the train floor hard," the passenger said. She added that others were also affected, and noticed that one woman nearby "felt giddy and someone applied Axe (brand medical) oil for her", while an SMRT employee on the train also "injured his wrist". 

A total of 29 people – including two SMRT staff – were injured in the incident, according to the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and SMRT. Twenty-five were taken to Ng Teng Fong Hospital and National University Hospital for treatment, while another four passengers sought treatment by themselves. 

Joo Koon collision interview 3
An MRT train collided with a stationary train at Joo Koon station during the morning rush hour on Nov 15, 2017. 

A spokesman from Ng Teng Fong Hospital said among the 10 injured at the hospital, two were assessed to have sustained injuries under the P2 category. According to the Health Ministry’s website, medical-care at emergency departments is prioritized based on four priority levels.

In this case, the category refers to a “Major Emergency Patients” who are usually unable to walk. Injuries under this category include limb fractures, joint dislocation and severe back pain. Another eight sustained minor injuries and were assessed to be under the P3 category, which includes sprains and minor head injuries. 

Following the collision, the female passenger said there was no information given and it was only after 10 minutes that an emergency announcement was heard telling passengers to head to the front of the train and exit via the driver's door. 


After passengers in the affected trains disembarked, no SMRT staff stepped forward to help, the passenger said. 

"When I left the train, there was no one there to help," she replied, when asked if there were people to check on commuters' wellbeing. "I was limping all the way."

She added that there were only announcements for free bus services, and at the control station, "there was a long queue" as staff issued chits for the delay. As she did not want to wait, and had to get to work at Joo Koon, she decided to just leave. She reached office at 9.45am - more than two hours after she started her journey.

Joo Koon collision interviewee injury

However, the passenger said that her left knee is now "very swollen and cramped", but she is not sure if she can claim compensation for medical treatment, asking this reporter what her options are.

No SMRT staff asked her if she wanted to go to the hospital, the passenger reiterated, adding that her boss advised her to take photos of her injury and send it to SMRT. She plans to see a doctor after work.

"It was a very, very bad experience for me," the passenger shared. "If this happened yesterday, when there was heavy rain, I can still understand. But today ... 

"I am very traumatised."

Source: CNA/kk